Dakar: Casale opens quads title defense with win; Stacey triumphs in trucks (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Ignacio Casale (pictured), the 2014 Dakar Rally winner in the quads, picked up right where he left off in Sunday’s opening 175km stage of the 2015 edition.

The Chilean rider has already built up a lead of one minute, seven seconds over Poland’s Rafal Sonik, the man he defeated for the top prize twelve months ago.

Uruguay’s Sergio Lafuente is an additional 16 seconds back of Sonik in third position following Stage 1.

“The stage was great and very fast,” Casale said. “I think I did a good stage. I was at ease, although I would’ve liked the quad to attain a higher peak speed, but we’ll see to that.

“I had to ease up a bit towards the end to preserve the clutch…The race starts now and I’m looking forward to giving it my all.”

Another Uruguayan, Mauro Almeida, is currently fourth (+2:41) and Qatar’s Mohammed Abu-Issa runs fifth at a shade over three minutes behind the defending quads champ.

A strong battle for top honors in the trucks went to Iveco’s Hans Stacey, who sits atop the category by a margin of 35 seconds over MAN’s Marcel Van Vliet. Van Vliet had been leading through the first two checkpoints of the stage.

Another MAN driver, Ales Loprais, finished third in the stage and is 47 seconds behind.

This year’s Dakar is important for Stacey, a former overall winner who is coming off a retirement in 2013 and a subpar seventh-place finish in 2014.

“I’m over the moon, I’d marked this stage down,” he said on Sunday. “I was driving in Loprais’ wake, but we did a good job. I’ve had problems two years in a row, but this time round everything’s on track and I feel very strong. Mentally too. This doesn’t guarantee anything, but everything’s in place.

“To win this race, all the stars need to be aligned. I believe everything’s ready and organized for me to win. So we’ll try to keep it up…”

Defending truck champion Andrey Karginov of the KAMAZ team did not have a good start to his title defense, coming to the end in 11th position, three minute and 16 seconds back of Stacey.

Coverage of the 2015 Dakar Rally starts Monday afternoon on NBCSN. Get your full Dakar TV schedule here.

After eating just one chip, NHRA drag racer says: ‘I seriously thought I was going to die’

Alex Laughlin official Instagram page
Leave a comment

Editor’s note: Due to rain, Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Carolina Nationals have been postponed to Monday morning at 10 a.m. ET. In the meantime, check out this rather unusual tale:

Remember the old Lays Potato Chips commercial from back in the 1980s that bragged “No one can eat just one”?

Well, ask NHRA Pro Stock driver Alex Laughlin and a few members of his team, and they’ll tell you they learned a very valuable lesson that there indeed IS a chip that you can only eat one of.

According to NHRA’s National Dragster, Laughlin and Elite Motorsports crew members Chase Freeman, Kelly Murphy and Brian Cunningham took part Friday night in the Paqui One Chip Challenge.

If you haven’t heard of the Challenge, Paqui Chips has produced a tortilla chip that the company boldly claims is the hottest chip ever made anywhere in the world. The secret is the “Carolina Reaper” pepper, considered the hottest chili pepper in the world, with a rating of 1.9 million Scoville units, according to PuckerButt Pepper Company.

How hot is 1.9 million Scoville units? Let’s put it this way: the Devil might even have a hard time taking this kind of heat. By comparison, a Jalapeno pepper only reaches 10,000 units on the Scoville rating. 

So while they were enjoying some downtime Friday night after the first two rounds of qualifying for the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina (suburban Charlotte), Laughlin and Co. paid $30 for one chip – you read that right, $30 for one chip, it’s THAT hot – and thought they could take the heat.

They thought wrong.

“This is the hottest chip in the world,” Laughlin said on an Instagram post that documented the entire experience, adding a warning, “What to expect: Mouth on fire, short-term loss of speech, impaired vision from tears, extreme profanity — or death.”

View this post on Instagram

Never. Ever. Again.

A post shared by Alex Laughlin (@alexlaughlin40) on

 

Laughlin’s post also includes several reader comments that Laughlin and his crew should have had milk on hand instead of water to try and cool things down because milk has a natural antidote to cool your mouth down after eating hot food.

Sunday morning, with his mouth and throat still a bit sore, Laughlin recalled the red-hot episode to National Dragster’s Kevin McKenna:

Never again. Never. Ever. Ever,” Laughlin told McKenna. “It was definitely not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

One of our guys showed me a You Tube video and it looked like it wasn’t going to be too bad. I like spicy food and it’s usually never a problem. I’ve been to those places with hot wings where you have to sign a waiver before you eat them and that’s never been a problem.

But this? This is on a whole different level. I thought it might last ten minutes. Fourteen hours later, I was still in bad shape. I woke up at 3 a.m. and Googled “internal bleeding.” I seriously thought I was going to die. We all did.”

So if the heat from the chip was off the hotness Richter scale, where did the stunt rank on Laughlin’s own personal Richter scale?

I’ve done some dumb things, but this is right up there.

Well, I really didn’t think it would be that bad,” Laughlin told McKenna with a shrug. “I mean, it’s just one tortilla chip. Like I said, I can usually eat stuff that other people won’t eat, but I had no idea what I was in for.

“I’ve done some dumb things, but this is right up there.”

If you’re up for another challenge in the future that involves eating hot food, Alex, here’s a suggestion: Even though it’s a few years old now, maybe you should try the Ice Bucket Challenge (but fill it with milk) to cool down quick. Just a thought.

Follow @JerryBonkowski